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ETANA began work as a non-profit publishing house and research group, focusing on the belief that information is a vital starting point for civic engagement.
Last updated: June 2016

This profile was last updated in June 2016. For a more up-to-date profile, please visit the organisation's website here:

Founded in 2001, ETANA began work as a non-profit publishing house and research group, focusing on the belief that information is a vital starting point for civic engagement. It is a Damascus-based publishing house which aims at increasing civic awareness in Syrian society, particularly among the youth.


ETANA promotes inclusive participatory citizenship at both community and government level in Syria. It offers access to information about the concepts of human rights, democracy & civil society. It believes that an active citizenship is the basis of democracy and the best guarantee of freedom and equality for all Syrian nationals. It aims to help build the capacity of Syrian citizens to fully participate in their country and its future development.

Description of activities

  • Workshops and activities to develop the capacity of local leaders and decision makers.
  • Facilitates social platforms for free discussion & debates.
  • Provides training for Syrian youth on human rights & democracy issues.
  • Strengthens local governmental bodies.
  • Engages continuously in research & development of publicly available information resources, regularly publishing online and hard copy literature to inform citizens and get them involved in the growing debate over Syria's future.
  • Designed an electronic database to respond to the needs of grassroots citizens involved in the Syrian debate as well as activists, decision makers and other key Syrians.
  • Collaborates with think tanks, institutes and organisations to document data & reports relevant to Syria.

In 2009, it established the Damascus-based Community-Based Library (CBL) in the heart of Damascus, to act as a resource centre for social justice and civil thinking, and to build the capacity of local actors to affect change via facilitating their access to valuable information, and also to amend a permanent space for them to meet, discuss, exchange views and collaborate.

Its training courses have been developing the capacity of social actors (especially journalists, women and small scale CSOs) in order to advocate on behalf of causes that were overlooked by mainstream media or their communities.

Since 2011, it has refocused its activities to better address the crisis, by means of developing the networks of community leaders around Syria and regionally, expanding its target groups for capacity building, and paying more attention to local governance.

Starting on January 2013, it has been working on a module to indoctrinate the principles of human rights, democracy and local governance at the local community personals, and to help them on how to implement these principles practically along their daily life.

Zakiratouna (Memory at Work Syria): a joint project by ETANA (Documentation, Research & Publishing) & UMAM (Documentation & Research) to create a toolbox for rethinking Syrian issues.

Sources of funding

A collaborating partner with the Arab Reform Initiative.


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